Boreal/Western Toad

Anaxyrus (Bufo) boreas

Species at Risk: Sensitive

There are 3 native “true toad” species in Alberta: the Canadian Toad, the Great Plains Toad, and the Western Toad. True toads have “warty” skin, little webbing between the toes, enlarged parotid glands, and prominent tubercles on their feet for digging. Western Toads can be distinguished from the other 2 true toad species by the lack of cranial crests between their eyes. They are green to light brown, with a light colored stripe down their backs. Warts are reddish-brown surrounded by black. Western toads are the largest of Alberta’s toads, ranging from 2-5” in length.

Unlike many toads, Western Toads prefer to walk rather than hop. They are primarily nocturnal, being most active at night.

Adult Western Toads feed on slugs, worms, and insects, while tadpoles are algae eaters.. The average lifespan for a Western Toad is 9-11 years

Male Western Toads are sexually mature at 3 years, while the females are mature at 4-5 years. At breeding sites, males can out-number females 20 to 1. It is thought that this ratio may be related to the size of the egg clutches produced. Western Toads are described as “explosive” breeders, with females producing 5000-15000 eggs at a time. It is thought that this effort is so energetically draining that females can only breed every few years.


Western Toads are native to western North America. In Canada, they are found in British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon and Northwest Territories. In Alberta, they are found primarily in the western and central part of the province. They tend to live near lakes, streams and ponds in boreal, foothill and mountain regions.


Western Toads populations are considered “Sensitive” in Alberta.

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External link opens in new tab or window Species At Risk Public Registry

Photo by Kyle Welsh